Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Alex Cator
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Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Alex Cator » 28 Dec 2014 18:49

I am Alex Cator, a DXer based in East Harling, Breckland District, Norfolk, England. I have been into DXing for over a year, and, as of the 26th of December 2014, I have joined the Skywaves DX Forum. I currently use a Sony ST-SB920 with a TV antenna in the loft installed by my house's landlord. I have done indoor tests with a Triax FM3 antenna, but I will erect it on a tripod in my front garden, facing 90 degrees. I use the stock car radios of the Ford Fiesta (Mk. 7) and Ford Focus (Mk.3), because these are the cars my parents drive. I also own a Tecsun PL-390 portable radio.
The main band I do DXing on is the FM broadcast band (band 2). I also DX on Band 3 (DAB, and DAB+, but no DAB+ audio due to not having DAB+ on the Ford Focus car radio), long-wave, medium-wave and short-wave. I have attempted to DX on GSM and Wi-Fi, but they didn't really take off as bands to DX, since the signals propagate badly.
I have yet to move to a new house (also in East Harling, but at higher above-sea level), which will hopefully have a Körner 9.2 antenna on the rooftop, with a Yaesu G-450A rotator, and I will by then probably have a Sony XDR-S3HD and Onkyo T-4970 in addition to my Sony ST-SB920. I will, further in the future, possibly own an Onkyo T-9090, a Kenwood KT-6040 and a Galaxie (Ron Smith) antenna.

73, Alex Cator.

Wish you all good DX results!
Home: Sony ST-SB920 (modified), Sony XDR-S10HDiP, Onkyo T-4970, Ford 5000 RDS, horizontal Triax FM3
Mobile: Ford Fiesta (Style, 2013) and Ford Focus (2012) car radios
Portable: Tecsun PL-390, Grundig G5 (2 x 110kHz), Etón G8

Nick Gilly
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Nick Gilly » 28 Dec 2014 19:48

Welcome to the forum Alex! Your plans for future DXing sound very promising. I also use a Körner 9.2 aerial with a Yaesu G-450C rotator. However, I would avoid the Ron Smith Galaxie aerials as I have heard that they might not perform as well as you think. I used to use an Onkyo T-4970 but the DYNAS function only worked properly on the lower passband of adjacent channels and the RDS decoding was very slow. The Sony XDR-F1HD is a superior option for DXing IMO. I haven't tried the other two tuners but I have heard very good things about them. The Onkyo T-9090 MkII(or T-9990 in most of Europe) is supposed to be slightly better for DXing than the 9090.

I hope this helps.
Good DX.

Nick, Whitchurch, Hampshire.

BW Broadcast RBRX Encore, Kenwood L-1000T, Yamaha T-2, Denon TU-800L, Kenwood KT-1100SD (modified), Yamaha T-85, Sony XDR-F1HD tuners, horizontal Körner 9.2 beam (Antennenland version), Yaesu G-450C rotator

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 28 Dec 2014 19:59

Yes, a very warm welcome Alex, if I haven't already said so elsewhere. It's good to have you here and I look forward to seeing your loggings in the future.

Alex Cator
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Alex Cator » 29 Dec 2014 13:02

Sorry. I meant T-9990. I just typed it incorrectly.
Home: Sony ST-SB920 (modified), Sony XDR-S10HDiP, Onkyo T-4970, Ford 5000 RDS, horizontal Triax FM3
Mobile: Ford Fiesta (Style, 2013) and Ford Focus (2012) car radios
Portable: Tecsun PL-390, Grundig G5 (2 x 110kHz), Etón G8

Alex Cator
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Alex Cator » 29 Dec 2014 13:08

Thanks John. I think I will find it easier to receive tropo from further inland in Europe, as Germany is as far as I've got yet. To get nearly as good as your loggings, I will probably take at least a year. I seriously can't wait to own an HS Publications antenna phaser, so I can at least eliminate not just noise, but Tacolneston, Great Barton, Stoke Holy Cross and Madingley. Now I will finally have Radio 538 from Westdorpe (102.4), and VRT MNM (the former Radio Donna) from Egem on 101.5, both very ambitious catches, due to Stoke Holy Cross (Heart) and Tacolneston (Classic FM) respectively.
Home: Sony ST-SB920 (modified), Sony XDR-S10HDiP, Onkyo T-4970, Ford 5000 RDS, horizontal Triax FM3
Mobile: Ford Fiesta (Style, 2013) and Ford Focus (2012) car radios
Portable: Tecsun PL-390, Grundig G5 (2 x 110kHz), Etón G8

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 29 Dec 2014 15:51

The HS Publications Antenna Phaser is a worthwhile tool to have. The only thing I would warn people about is that you need to have an effective second antenna. The theory is that two identical signals, when mixed together, cancel each other out. But the practice of doing this can be VERY fiddly. You will need to experiment a lot to find out what works better in terms of aerial direction and gain. Sometimes, obtaining a null is near impossible, while other times you will have great results getting rid of that unwanted signal. It requires a bit of patience, but it DOES work very well one you have got the hang of it.

As for "getting nearly as good as my loggings", you SHOULD be able to hear the same as me. This is an old thing I often bang on about, but most DX successes are about being in the right place at the right time. The equipment does matter, true enough, but to a lesser degree. I am lucky here as my FM band is virtually empty compared to other locations. I also have a lot of free time.

Having a nine element antenna is very helpful, but it's not that high and the siting of it is not ideal either. We often have to make the best of a bad job and my neighbour's conifer tree has grown so much now that I cannot rotate to beam south-west, clockwise through to the north. Just stick at it, see what other people are reporting here, learn bit by bit as you go along, we all do, and you will be able to make the most of this amazing hobby. Never say "never" as I am sure that one day you will probably be amazed at what you have received.

Alex Cator
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Alex Cator » 29 Dec 2014 16:21

My FM band is very empty also, but to a lesser degree than yours, because of some further inland stations, particular Cambridgeshire, that can be heard in my part of Norfolk. If you compare my amount of locals and semi-locals to someone in the West Midlands or London, or someone in the Netherlands, my band is very empty. You need an XDR to get Tacolneston anywhere near the Hague, because of Radio Royaal, a Dutch local station! :-(
I do have a lot of free time at the moment, but don't expect that from me, because during term time, I have to go to school and study. I'm not as old as you think, being under 16. I will do most of my DX logs in the evenings and weekends, because, from Monday to Friday, I have to attend school.
Home: Sony ST-SB920 (modified), Sony XDR-S10HDiP, Onkyo T-4970, Ford 5000 RDS, horizontal Triax FM3
Mobile: Ford Fiesta (Style, 2013) and Ford Focus (2012) car radios
Portable: Tecsun PL-390, Grundig G5 (2 x 110kHz), Etón G8

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 29 Dec 2014 16:31

Well that's great Alex. Nice to know we have somebody your age with us. No, we're not all 'old'. Quite far from it. There are people of all ages in this hobby. But I think a lot of people worry that there is a lack of younger people coming into the hobby - I am thinking about amateur radio in this regard, but I think the age thing varies tremendously across the country.

I have frequented a few amateur radio groups over the last few years, though not so much in Lincolnshire. Based on experiences at one group, which I won't mention, 60 would have been considered 'young'. I was very please to find a great group in Nottinghamshire. Worksop to be precise, where Jane, my wife and I, used to visit most Tuesday evenings, their main club night. There was no shortage of young people in their early teens. Plus, the group seemed to have a 50/50 split between male and female. So I suppose it depends where you go. Naturally, we are keen to promote this hobby to younger people in order to ensure its survival. "Survival" because we are living in a digital age where international radio is available at the touch of a touch-screen on our mobile phones. There is a fear that DXing with real propagation could become a thing of the last.

Most of my time is spent at home as a Carer. My wife is disabled. We are not old though. Mid, 20s. Ish. Well, er, 30s. Ahem. 40s. OK 50s! Jane is in her 40s and a ham too, though not practicing of late. But neither am I. I enjoy broadcast DXing far more at the tender age of 53. (I'll never grow up, lol)

Anyway, enjoy the hobby. We are a friendly group so don't ever feel afraid to ask any questions.

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 29 Dec 2014 16:35

Well that's great Alex. Nice to know we have somebody your age with us. No, we're not all 'old'. Quite far from it. There are people of all ages in this hobby. But I think a lot of people worry that there is a lack of younger people coming into the hobby - I am thinking about amateur radio in this regard, but I think the age thing varies tremendously across the country.

I have frequented a few amateur radio groups over the last few years, though not so much in Lincolnshire. Based on experiences at one group, which I won't mention, 60 would have been considered 'young'. I was very please to find a great group in Nottinghamshire. Worksop to be precise, where Jane, my wife and I, used to visit most Tuesday evenings, their main club night. There was no shortage of young people, even a few in their early teens, following in their parent's ham radio footprints! Plus, the group seemed to have a 50/50 split between male and female. So I suppose it depends where you go. Naturally, we are always keen to promote this hobby to all ages, but in particular to younger people in order to ensure its survival. "Survival" because we are living in a digital age where international radio is available at the touch of a touch-screen on our mobile phones and this has brought about a fear to some that DXing with real propagation could become a thing of the past.

Most of my time is spent at home as a Carer. My wife is disabled. We are not old though. Mid, 20s, ish. Well, er, 30s. Ahem. 40s. OK 50s! Jane is in her 40s and a ham too, though not practicing of late. But neither am I. I enjoy broadcast DXing far more (at the tender age of 53. I'll never grow up, lol)

Anyway, enjoy the hobby. We are a friendly group so don't ever feel afraid to ask any questions if you need to know something. "Knowledge is power", as Dr Karl would say.

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 29 Dec 2014 16:35

Well that's great Alex. Nice to know we have somebody your age with us. No, we're not all 'old'. Quite far from it. There are people of all ages in this hobby. But I think a lot of people worry that there is a lack of younger people coming into the hobby - I am thinking about amateur radio in this regard, but I think the age thing varies tremendously across the country.

I have frequented a few amateur radio groups over the last few years, though not so much in Lincolnshire. Based on experiences at one group, which I won't mention, 60 would have been considered 'young'. I was very please to find a great group in Nottinghamshire. Worksop to be precise, where Jane, my wife and I, used to visit most Tuesday evenings, their main club night. There was no shortage of young people, even a few in their early teens, following in their parent's ham radio footprints! Plus, the group seemed to have a 50/50 split between male and female. So I suppose it depends where you go. Naturally, we are always keen to promote this hobby to all ages, but in particular to younger people in order to ensure its survival. "Survival" because we are living in a digital age where international radio is available at the touch of a touch-screen on our mobile phones and this has brought about a fear to some that DXing with real propagation could become a thing of the past.

Most of my time is spent at home as a Carer. My wife is disabled. We are not old though. Mid, 20s, ish. Well, er, 30s. Ahem. 40s. OK 50s! Jane is in her 40s and a ham too, though not practicing of late. But neither am I. I enjoy broadcast DXing far more (at the tender age of 53. I'll never grow up, lol)

Anyway, enjoy the hobby. We are a friendly group so don't ever feel afraid to ask any questions if you need to know something. "Knowledge is power", as Dr Karl would say.

Alex Cator
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Alex Cator » 29 Dec 2014 17:24

Thanks Nick. Without you I would have a plan on my mind to get the Galaxie 23. Is the Körner 9.2 better than the Galaxie 23 then? I heard your comment about the Dynas, but are you saying that, despite Great Barton on 96.4, I would get South Benfleet on 96.3, but not Rouen on 96.5? How well did your Onkyo's Dynas receive stations at 100 kHz away from a semi-local station? I would like to get the T-4970, because it lacks some attenuation done on the XDR series tuners when pointing to a strong signal? I know the XDR-S10HDiP (the cheapest XDR I found on eBay) will get weak tropo signals next to locals that the Dynas won't, but I'm using the T-4970 and the XDR-S10HDiP for different purposes within the hobby of DXing.
Home: Sony ST-SB920 (modified), Sony XDR-S10HDiP, Onkyo T-4970, Ford 5000 RDS, horizontal Triax FM3
Mobile: Ford Fiesta (Style, 2013) and Ford Focus (2012) car radios
Portable: Tecsun PL-390, Grundig G5 (2 x 110kHz), Etón G8

Nick Gilly
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Nick Gilly » 29 Dec 2014 17:55

Hi Alex. I think the T-4970 I had was a bit out of alignment hence the asymmetrical filter response using the DYNAS. For example, I could hear weak DX 100 kHz below a strong signal, but 100 kHz above and the audio would cut in & out as the filters couldn't 'lock on' to the weak signal. It was more of a problem with the Hannington locals as the problem happened +200 kHz above them.

It's a risk with tuners of this age. The first T-4970 I tried was superb on the very rare occasion the DYNAS worked, every bit as good as the XDR in fact, but 99 times out of 100 all I could get was unintelligible scratchy noise using the DYNAS so I got a refund on it.

John will be able to tell you more about the Galaxie aerials as he tried one. I think his Triax FM5 (or was it an FM8?) beat it! A big Galaxie aerial would also be a lot heavier than a Körner 9.2.

I'm in my 40s and have been into FM DXing since 1985. However, it was only after I got married ad moved to Whitchurch in 2005 that I was able to get a dedicated FM aerial on the roof, a Triax FM5. It's only since October that I've been able to upgrade to the 9.2 and Yaesu rotator, so there is a lot more that I should be able to receive given the right conditions. I'm sure you'll have plenty of fun during next year's Sporadic-E season!
Good DX.

Nick, Whitchurch, Hampshire.

BW Broadcast RBRX Encore, Kenwood L-1000T, Yamaha T-2, Denon TU-800L, Kenwood KT-1100SD (modified), Yamaha T-85, Sony XDR-F1HD tuners, horizontal Körner 9.2 beam (Antennenland version), Yaesu G-450C rotator

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 29 Dec 2014 19:26

Yes, DO AVOID the Galaxie.

It was the Triax FM5 which out-performed this 23 element beast in gain and directivity. Subsequent computer analysis of this antenna has revealed all of its flaws.

I am not suggesting all of Mr Ron Blick's aerials are the same, but this one is a joke. I found out the hard way after I bought one. I got my money back, but it was a struggle and my dealings with the man himself got very messy.

Not many commercially produced antennas are 'optimised' these days. i.e. actually cut and measured in accordance with the band we have today. Some older models still only cover from 88 to 100 MHz - from the days when the police used to operate above 98 MHz. It's hard to believe that some manufacturers are still producing these today!

The Korner antennas are built with the DXer in mind and are fully optimised. You will not go wrong with one. It's the same with Triax too. As for other brands, well, I'll have to let other members comment as my experience of other brands is limited. We would need posts in the relevant section too.

Alex Cator
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Alex Cator » 29 Dec 2014 20:41

I was about to buy the Antennacraft FM6 antenna. The Triax FM4 (four elements) outperforms it, despite the Antennacraft having six elements, and the Triax FM5 outperforms it by quite a bit, from what I have seen of the specs of both. I personally find the Antennacraft FM6 a bit of a joke, but for a simple five-element antenna to outperform the Galaxie 23, wow, either the Triax is amazing or the Galaxie is rubbish. Both are true.
It is true that I was about to buy the Antennacraft FM6, £30 on eBay but with ridiculous £150 delivery to the UK. It is from the USA. So many American DXers use them. Even they think it's a joke, so they modify them for optimum performance. I still think they should think more carefully about their antenna systems, sorry to sound xenophobic, because I'm not intending to. The Antennacraft FM6 has 6.6dB gain, which is slightly higher than that of the Triax FM3, but lower than the FM4 and FM5. Fine for three but not SIX ELEMENTS! Six elements and the antenna is outperformed by a four-element Triax. The Antennacraft FM6 was originally sold by Radio Shack as their 15-2163, yet that's one reason for no FM6! People say 'What is a great antenna, not Radio Shack junk!", and I agree with them. Antennacraft's website say "Provide your FM stereo receiver with the best signal possible", wow, what a cliché! I am also on WTFDA, the North American equivalent of Skywaves, but I am more active on Skywaves, and, if I was any more opinionated, I would force them to at least get a Triax FM4 or FM5, if not a Triax FM8S or Körner 9.2. The fact I even think the Antennacraft FM6 (Radio Shack 15-2163) is a joke, the Galaxie 23 is a huge no-no! An FM6 is the ideal antenna if you're an American in bad coverage of a local radio service. What is the point of the Galaxie 23? Even someone in bad coverage of a local radio performance probably knows they could do better with a smaller antenna.
Home: Sony ST-SB920 (modified), Sony XDR-S10HDiP, Onkyo T-4970, Ford 5000 RDS, horizontal Triax FM3
Mobile: Ford Fiesta (Style, 2013) and Ford Focus (2012) car radios
Portable: Tecsun PL-390, Grundig G5 (2 x 110kHz), Etón G8

Catherine
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Catherine » 29 Dec 2014 21:47

Hello Alex,

I live in the Broadland area. We do indeed have a quiet FM band!

I'm a youngster but not as young as yourself (I'm 23)! Been into DXing since I was 16 but I actually heard my first European FM station when I was 11. I feel like a geek but it's 'right up my street', lol.

I'm happy with the results I've had using ordinary radios, so I haven't really looked into any posh tuners or aerials.

Cheers,

Catherine

Alex Cator
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Alex Cator » 29 Dec 2014 22:33

I've DXed around Thorpe St. Andrew with outstanding results from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and even Germany on FM. That is in Broadland, near the Broadland/Norwich borders. In average, Broadland is a much better place to DX than Breckland. Broadland, for a start, is closer to mainland Europe than Breckland, as Breckland is further inland. Also, there is an absence of some further inland stations from England, that seem to make a lot of the European stations fuzzy here in Breckland. The only place in Broadland where you can get Cambridgeshire, which has unfortunately too good signals in Breckland, is up the A1067 near Drayton, Hellesdon and Attlebridge, and probably Morton and Lenwade as well. So fuzzy that Q-music in Egem could get over Heart Cambridge (both 103.0), and receiving them near Norwich kinda makes Cambs more interesting. Cambs and mainland Europe constantly fight where I live all the time during tropo. If you put your location as Norwich, you must be near Norwich, so where about in Broadland is your location?
Home: Sony ST-SB920 (modified), Sony XDR-S10HDiP, Onkyo T-4970, Ford 5000 RDS, horizontal Triax FM3
Mobile: Ford Fiesta (Style, 2013) and Ford Focus (2012) car radios
Portable: Tecsun PL-390, Grundig G5 (2 x 110kHz), Etón G8

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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Andrew Webster,Wigan » 30 Dec 2014 00:31

Welcome to the forum from me Alex/ Catherine nice to see young ones coming into this brilliant hobby.
The mention of empty band makes me green with envy lol as here it's chocker but still I don't do too bad though.
I hope you get a decent aerial sorted as that will make a world of difference so good luck with DXing.
I think I qualify as an old git at 59 but I feel younger which is the way I look at it.


Andy
Receiving equipment: 2 Sony ST-S311, 1 Sony ST-SE520, 1 Sony ST-SE700 2 crossed FM 5s rotatable, 1 homemade FM 3 horizontal beaming S/E, 1 vertical FM 3 fixed beaming at Ireland, 2 element band 1.

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a2c39a
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by a2c39a » 30 Dec 2014 06:54

Hello Alex and Catherine,

I would like to say how pleased I am to meet two young people who are interested in 'real' radio/radio reception! :) :)

Good luck to both of you.

Best wishes, John.

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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Franco Martelli » 30 Dec 2014 13:57

a2c39a wrote:Hello Alex and Catherine,

I would like to say how pleased I am to meet two young people who are interested in 'real' radio/radio reception! :) :)

Good luck to both of you.

Best wishes, John.
I totally agree with you, Andy.
Sometimes it seems that BCL/DX is only a thing for grey haired people but, hopefully, it's not true at all. ;)

Franco
Rx: Degen DE-1103, Sangean ATS-909

Catherine
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Re: Welcome to the new DXer based in Breckland!

Post by Catherine » 30 Dec 2014 18:51

Alex Cator wrote:If you put your location as Norwich, you must be near Norwich, so where about in Broadland is your location?
I'm in Hellesdon, just a few miles from the city.

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